This post won’t make sense without reading its predecessor. I am going to start where I left off there and dive right in to a discussion of the arconological manipulation of human life that the Yeatsian material describes.
This material provided me with the clearest examples of how William interacted with the spirits to shape the system in cooperation with them and with his wife’s mediumistic talents. While William is often an active questioner, this material sees William proposing terms, developing his own concepts, and querying after his sense of the matter with the spirits.
These terms and concepts owe much to William’s nationalist and poetic sensibilities. Deliberately Welsh and Scotch motifs mingle with the Irish here. The social organizations orchestrated by arcons are called ‘covens’ and the terms used to describe the interaction of arcon and coven conjure heraldic images, the ‘dragon’ and the ‘unicorn.’ The celtic imaginary sits lightly on the content they describe, however.
When the spirits discuss the arcons, their daimonic character becomes quite clear. The primary means to regulate membership in a coven is the manipulation of sentiment. In much the same way as daimons cooperate to create dramas that will foster crises, arcons manipulate the world to alter the sentiments of people around the coven. In this role, they become ‘dragons,’ either of a ‘red’ or ‘green’ variety.
The term ‘dragon’ is arbitrary, more a rebus than a portrait. Any arcon can be described as a dragon when they are regulating the membership of their coven, so it is role more than a feature of a specific arcon. There is some ambiguity in the material over this, though. There are instances where it sounds like there is an arcon in each role for a given coven and other times like it is just a role that any arcon can play. Given that its defining feature is more action than essence, I tend to favor the interpretation that a single arcon can play the role of either dragon.
When an arcon manifests as the red dragon, they draw people into the coven and when they manifest as the green dragon, they push them away from the coven. As the red dragon, they present themselves as the ‘memory’ of the coven. They appeal to the individual’s will and intellect, providing them with events and images that, explored, invigorate and excite the faculties.
As the green dragon, they manipulate the mask of an individual. The green dragon encourages the individual to fixate on a specific ideal form of what they desire. As that image is personal, identification with it isolates the individual from a communal undertaking that requires compromise and adjustment. This can be gently done, as when someone falls away from a group in search of what they think they want. It can also be more dramatic, as when rivalries break out over what the group should *look* like.
There is nothing preventing a single arcon from fracturing a group as the green dragon and nonetheless remaining the red dragon for members of each respective splinter coven; the system emphasizes the importance of complementing opposition and by cultivating divergent covens, an arcon can develop both complements of its being.
Excluding this deliberate division, the material makes clear that two covens with no direct relationship to each other may be joined by common arconic forces. These related covens share a common red dragon that manifests itself differently to each coven. Like the famed story of the blind men and the elephant, though each coven may have their hands on the same dragon, their experience can be joined only by careful inference and alert intuition.
The relationship between covens who share an arcon is termed a relationship between ‘unicorns.’ Each coven develops internally according to the capacities of their members, but they also have an indirect effect on each other through the shared medium of the arcon. Yeats compares this to the phenomenon of two remote dreamers receiving different aspects of the same scene which, if put together, provide a clearer sense of the whole.
The system always describes these relationships as being between pairs, mirroring the antithetical and primary (lunar and solar) contrast that appears throughout the Yeatsian material. One coven receives from the other material which it develops in subtle detail while the other serves to manifest the content that the other coven explores and elaborates. The coven that influences, projecting and solar, is described as ‘red’ (the red unicorn) while the coven, elaborating and lunar, that receives that influence is described as ‘white’ (the white unicorn).
While this influence may move through visible, historical channels, it is often indirect, running through spiritual channels of sympathy that only cross paths here and there in the visible world. Like the role of dragon, the role of unicorn is relational. While not discussed in the Yeatsian material, it seems possible that a coven might be a white unicorn in relation to one coven and a red unicorn in relation to another. Or that a pair might reverse their relationship, with a red unicorn becoming white and white unicorn becoming red.
In summary: the arcons manipulate humans with an eye toward organizing them into groups that can further the arcons own spiritual operations. Through this, arcons create for themselves a kind of differentiated body, with the covens serving as discrete organs within that body.
Paying attention to the mechanisms arcons use, it should be apparent that this system is imperfect. Much like our own organism, it makes use of what is available and mostly works. Its operations can be observed, though the full scope of them can be difficult to establish since they sit outside the visible world we occupy. It can suffer the same kinds of problems as our organism, too, with arconic manipulations of the daimonic reality having unpredictable and cascading impacts in visible and invisible life.
The system also suggests that there are some potentially profound side-effects to this process. Someone who has committed themselves to a coven may do so in a way that prevents them from realizing their initiatory moments in crises and so pass into death with the lack of resolution that prevents them from progressing in the afterlife. These souls would then be the sort that would inflict the kiss of death on the living which, in turn, creates the conditions for new arcon to be born.
The arconic covens, then, become part of the ecology of arcon production. Which become the basis for more covens….and so on.
Now, atop this, imagine that there must necessarily develop interactions between arcons. While some may develop only because of a shared connection to the daimonic reality they manipulate, others may develop out of ‘natural’ sympathies between arcons. Alongside this, there are human capacities for limiting the impact of daimonic manipulation, exemplified in the disciplines found in practices like Stoicism and early Buddhism. By allowing individuals to limit the impact of events and desires on their mind, they subsequently limit the capacity of the daimons and arcons to manipulate them through it.
While this is still schematic, this account highlights possibilities for complexity, both in the spiritual world and in human experience of the spiritual world. It overlaps with much spiritualist doctrine and even as it considers the wider scope of arcons keeps a clear and humane focus on the scale of a human life.
There is more to discuss, especially regarding the mechanism by which daimonic reality is co-opted, but this seems like a natural place to pause. More to come.